The Austrian Telecommunications Act 2003 (TKG 2003) stipulates that companies may call upon the regulatory authority for support in the case of disputes. For this purpose, the following instruments are defined in the TKG 2003:
Dispute settlement procedures pursuant to Art. 122 TKG 2003
Under Art. 122 Par. 1 TKG 2003, RTR can act as a conciliation body in cases where disputes between a customer and an operator can not be settled in a satisfactory manner (No. 1) and in cases of alleged violations of the TKG 2003 (No. 2). The complainants may be users, communications network operators or service providers, or interest groups.
Art. 50 stipulates that operators may call upon the regulatory authority in cases where another operator fails to meet its obligations to provide interconnection. In such cases, the regulatory authority will issue an order defining the relevant terms of interconnection.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
Article 115 Par. 3 TKG 2003 provides for another means of negotiation for conflicts between market participants (i.e., companies or interest groups): RTR may be called upon to take part in negotiations regarding any disagreements resulting from the TKG 2003 and to support the parties in settling the dispute on their own. However, the parties to the dispute must have attempted to resolve the conflict independently before calling upon the regulatory authority. The subject of such negotiated settlements under Art. 115 Par. 3 TKG 2003 must be disputes arising from the TKG 2003 or its accompanying ordinances and related to communications services.
The duties of RTR and the TKK also include monitoring the enforcement of general conditions as well as the provisions of the TKG 2003 and the relevant ordinances. This is achieved by means of the supervisory procedure under Art. 91 TKG 2003. This refers to a multi-stage procedure in which a company which violates the provisions of the TKG 2003, or an ordinance or official decision issued on the basis of the TKG 2003, is first informed about the (suspected) violation and given an opportunity to submit comments regarding the allegation or to restore legal compliance within (at least) one month. If these requirements are not met, the second step may involve issuing a decision which imposes the appropriate measures on the company in question. In the third and final step, it is possible to suspend or refuse the company's right to operate or provide communications networks or services, and allocated frequencies and communications parameters may be revoked.